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Now That I Know How To Cut Ceramics, How To Drill Them?

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I should know this, but I don't. What kind of bit should I look for to drill into a ceramic piece? I had two breakages at a weekend show.  On one sculpture, the hands got broken off of a figure, but if I can drill into the "sleeves", I should be able to replace the hands and refire it.  Additionally, is there any special technique I should be aware of when drilling into ceramics?

Jayne

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Drilling through stoneware and porcelain is a real pain. It will take a long, long time. Don't let the bit overheat or you can crack the piece. Did I mention it will take a long, long time?

 

If you try to attach the hands into the sleeves, they must sit in place without any sort of mechanical means if you plan to fire them into place. If they won't sit in place via gravity, they will just fall out during the firing as the glaze softens up. Might have to just glue them in after firing.

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Hmmm. Attaching them after firing might be the best way to go. Thanks. And s-l-o-w, huh? Man, that's the hard part -- slowing myself down. But I will put the drill on its slowest speed and try to exercise patience. Thanks again.

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I had a lamp shop convert some inexpensive Chinese ceramic square Tea jars into lamps.

 

They too used a diamond grinding bit mounted on a drill-press, with the porcelain fully supported underneath.

 

With modest constant pressure and a constant flow of water, the bit slowly ground the holes through the porcelain.

 

I've been able to fire some unexpected pieces together with glaze by firing them upside down using Kanthal wire to suspend them, thus using gravity to hold the piece to be attached in place.

Good information! Thanks!

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I use silicon carbide grit. Use a brass or copper rod of the desired diameter as the drill bit(brazing rod is suitable). Make a plasticene dam around the spot where the hole is to be made,add grit and water. Do not press too hard, replenish water as required and support the underside of the material being drilled otherwise the drill will break through leaving a ragged area around the hole. Repeatedly withdraw the drill to permit new grit and water penetrate to the cutting surface.Wear ear defenders and goggles.

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I use silicon carbide grit. Use a brass or copper rod of the desired diameter as the drill bit(brazing rod is suitable). Make a plasticene dam around the spot where the hole is to be made,add grit and water. Do not press too hard, replenish water as required and support the underside of the material being drilled otherwise the drill will break through leaving a ragged area around the hole. Repeatedly withdraw the drill to permit new grit and water penetrate to the cutting surface.Wear ear defenders and goggles.

Okay, two questions... Where does one buy silicon carbide grit (not to mention plasticine)??  And what is a brazing rod?

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Lapidery suppliers stock silicone carbide grit. I use 600 mesh as I have it on hand having  bought it for another purpose, a coarser mesh would do just as well.

 

 Brazing rod is used  to join metals by heat and can be bought at plumbing suppliers, use one that is not covered in a flux, it looks like brass rod. Any non ferrous metal rod of the desired diameter will do.

 

Plasticene is a trade name for  an oil based modelling clay used by sculptors and model makers not to mention school kids. It's used as it does not wash away with the cooling water as potters clay does.

bny likes this

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Lapidery suppliers stock silicone carbide grit. I use 600 mesh as I have it on hand having  bought it for another purpose, a coarser mesh would do just as well.

 

 Brazing rod is used  to join metals by heat and can be bought at plumbing suppliers, use one that is not covered in a flux, it looks like brass rod. Any non ferrous metal rod of the desired diameter will do.

 

Plasticene is a trade name for  an oil based modelling clay used by sculptors and model makers not to mention school kids. It's used as it does not wash away with the cooling water as potters clay does.

Thanks for the detailed information!

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